On 31st of October the CFZ 2010 expedition leaves England. They will be exploring the Garo Hills in Northern India in search of the mande-burung or Indian yeti. The five-man team consists of team leader Adam Davies, Dr Chris Clark, Dave Archer, field naturalist Jonathan McGowan, and cryptozoologist Richard Freeman.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

OLL LEWIS: The Garo Hills

The India expedition should prove to be quite a contrast to conditions faced on many previous Centre for Fortean Zoology expeditions, not least because of the weather conditions I would expect the team to encounter in the Garo Hills. If you've followed our expeditions for a while you'll know that so far the CFZ has encountered almost anything nature can throw at them, from blistering heat with no precipitation to ice-capped mountains. One weather extreme not yet encountered, however, is constant rain.

I suspect this may be rectified soon as Adam, Richard, Chris, Dave and Jonathan make their way to the Garo Hills in their search for the Yeti, because the Garo Hills is one of the wettest places in the world. Some parts of the mountain range receive over 11 metres of rainfall a year, so I hope for their sakes they packed their waterproofs.

The Garo hills are situated within the 41,700 square kilometres Meghalaya subtropical forests ecoregion in Eastern India, which borders on the state of Assam, famous to many in the west because of it's tea plantations. The Garo Hills region is a subtropical moist broadleaf forest eco-region home to around 320 different orchids and the beautiful Nepenthes khasiana pitcher plant.

The plant - whose local name among the A·chik Mande people of the Garo hills is 'memang-koksi', which means 'basket of the devil' - is endangered but shows great genetic diversity and there are several cultivation projects in progress to help ensure the rare plants survival. Animals in the area include Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), Asiatic wild dog (Cuon alpinus), sun bear (Ursus malayanus), sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), Indian civet (Viverra zibetha), Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), Assamese Macaque (Macaca assamensis), Bear Macaque (Macaca arctoides), Capped Leaf Monkey (Semnopithecus pileatus), and Hoolock Gibbon (Hylobates hoolock), tiger (Panthera tigris) and Clouded Leopard (Pardofelis nebulosa). Some of which, like the sun bear for example, have been offered as non-cryptid explanations for Yeti sightings in the area.

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